Bay Citizen – Disabled troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face an unexpected battle: the Department of Veterans Affairs’ growing stack of disability benefit claims, leading to processing delays of six months or more. In the worst cases, some VA offices – like Los Angeles’ – are so far behind that even if no new claims were filed, it could take almost three years for the backlog to be cleared. VA officials attributed the problem to a flood of wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans coupled with aging Vietnam veterans filing new claims, inundating the system just as the VA is working to improve it.
In the fallout, many returning vets find themselves blocked from the services and compensation they need. Read The Bay Citizen, a part of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting, for in-depth coverage.
This map displays 58 VA regional offices and the number of backlogged claims by week on a national, regional and local level. Select a city by clicking on its circle. This application will update itself every Monday to show each office’s change in pending claims.
Source: Bay Citizen, August 29, 2012, by Shane Shifflett & David Suriano, Center for Investigative Reporting; feature photo of Dottie Guy from Bay Citizen: For Disabled Veterans Awaiting Benefits Decisions, Location Matters